When most people think of going to church one of the most obvious things they think about is gathering to worship God. They’re not wrong of course, but there are other reasons to join a church. The idea that you have to be a bible thumping Christian in order to join is simply not true. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to believe in God or be religious at all in order to benefit from attending church. Here are five reasons to venture out on Sunday morning.
Any entrepreneur, business owner, or business minded individual knows the importance of networking. Have a service to offer? Need a service provided? What better way to strike up a conversation than at church or at a church event? Plenty of people in a relaxed setting and willing to interact are always pluses for networking. New to an area and want to get to know your community? Stop by several churches and make some new friends. My family has lived on the same farm and in the same town and going to the same church for 150+ years. I know everyone around my area and if I don’t know them, I know someone who does. Think about how valuable it is (either for social or business reasons) to interact with people who have literally known everyone in your county for generations. In a small rural community like mine, I can have positive and constructive interactions with judges, lawyers, doctors, policemen, teachers etc… every Sunday. Those interactions go a long way. Get pulled over for speeding? If you go to church with the officer or the judge (at least around here) you’re more likely to get off with a slap on the wrist. Little Johnny having trouble in school? Making friends with the principal and teacher at your local church could help him out. Networking is a good thing.
Are you a non-believer? Don’t really think religion is your thing? That’s fine. But what about your kids? Why not expose them to church? When they get old enough to make the decision whether or not they want to continue going then they can make it on their own. Their ideas and views about God, religion, and spirituality may develop and be different than yours. Let them decide on their own. But of course they will never know unless you take them. There are other reasons to get your children involved as well. There are youth group meetings that allow kids to make new friends and even volunteer to help the community. There are bible schools and camps that allow the kids more social interaction and the parents don’t have to worry about where the kids are at or what they’re doing. One of the churches we attend regularly also has a program geared for kids and young adults with mental and physical disabilities. It not only brings them together for social interaction but other “typical” kids are there to interact with them as well. I’ve been to many of these group meetings and I can testify that not only do the special needs kids benefit, but so do the other kids and young adults. These types of programs make a difference in the lives of the parents as well. They know they can drop their kids off and that they’ll be in good hands for a couple hours while the parents run errands or simply get some much needed time alone. Some churches even provide babysitting services so that parents can have an evening to themselves, go on a date, or just get some things done around the house. When my step-kids are at a church camp or retreat I know they’re safe and out of trouble. It’s peace of mind.
Lose your job? Down on your luck? Need some help? Most churches have a food pantry for those in need. I know in my community if someone needs food they can call up most any church and have a box of food in their possession by the end of the day. Don’t forget all the pot luck dinners and Sunday meals as well. Many churches have clothes closets. Clothing can get expensive for a single mom with growing kids. Churches provide clothing programs to help out. Need help paying for your light or gas bill? Churches can also help out making sure the lights and the heat stay on. But church can also provide an opportunity to be on the giving end as well. Want to help out local people in your area? Link up with a church and they’ll show you an elderly couple who need help mowing the grass or patching a hole in the roof. Want to help out a disadvantaged kid? They can show you how to be a mentor. Want to give back by coaching a little league team? Churches have those as well. Unlike government programs that don’t work, you can have hands on interactions with those in your community that need your help the most. You can actually see the change and benefits that you’re creating. It’s a good feeling knowing there are people in your community willing to help you. It’s also a good feeling knowing that you’ve helped your neighbor.
Even if you don’t believe Jesus was the son of God or even if you don’t believe in God at all, you can still learn something by going to church. If you strip away God from the bible, you still end up with a book that can teach you how to interact with everyone around you regardless of your situation. Although it was written long ago, the ideas and concepts about love and peace still hold up. It tells you how to live a fruitful life. It can show you how to be successful in things that money can’t buy. I know some of you are thinking that you don’t have to read the bible or go to church to be a good person. That may be true. But if you had an opportunity to learn a new way of thinking or an angle regarding a situation that you find yourself in, would you take it? I’ve never walked out of church not having learned something. The second you shut the door on an opportunity to improve your thinking, way of life, or your over-all well-being is the second you’re selling yourself short. You don’t have to go to church to read the bible and understand it. You might be thinking that everything you need to know is in that book and you don’t need to physically go to church. That may be true. However, do you think you could teach yourself physics just from looking at the book? Or would it be more helpful to go to class and learn from an instructor as well? If books were all we needed, then there would be no use for teachers or pastors.
Do It For Someone Else
Sometimes my wife wants to watch a movie and I know I’m not going to like it. Different tastes of course. I really don’t want to spend an hour and a half watching something that doesn’t interest me. But you know what? I do it anyway because it’s time I get to spend with her. That means something. You may not believe in God, the teachings of Jesus, or any other religion for that matter. But what if you took an hour out of your Sunday morning and went to church for someone else? Maybe a grandparent, spouse, uncle, aunt, or even your kids. Think about the look of joy in your grandparent’s eyes if they saw you walk through those church doors and sit with them. Or better yet, pick them up and take them to church. It could mean nothing to you, but mean the world to someone else. Use it to build your relationships.
You don’t have to be a religious person to go to church. You don’t have to be a Christian. You don’t even have to believe in God at all. You could think that it’s simpleminded and backwards to worship some spook in the sky. It doesn’t make any difference. Going to church can make your life better. You get to meet new people, your kids have a safe place, you can get help or help those in need, you can always learn something, and you can make someone else happy. Find a church that’s right for you. There’s one for everybody. Want an old school coat and tie wearing church that only sings 100yr old hymns? How about a church where you can show up in flip flops and watch a full band? Feel more comfortable in a predominantly white or black church? What about mixed? Want to handle snakes and speak in tongues? Comfortable with an openly homosexual pastor? Want to drink beer at church and sing? Finding a church that fits you and your family is key. I know my life is better for it. It’s only an hour a week. Besides, what else do you have planned at 11:00am on Sunday morning?